Deep Connections in Mexico

Magazine Issue
Spring 2018


Three students from the McKay School were part of a six-student team that worked as research assistants in Mexico on a project for professors Eric Bybee and Bryant Jensen.

Jensen and Bybee put together the student team to perform spring field­work in Mexico. They have been study­ing the half a million US-born students currently enrolled in schools throughout Mexico, a result of the tightening of US policies on immigration.

McKay School students Victoria Savage, Emma Holdaway, and Amber Goulding joined Alisa Baker, Norma Palomo, and Angie Vega for a preparation semester before heading off to Mexico for the hands-on learning experience. For the five weeks in-country, the team spent time with their assigned students both in school and in their homes and were able to develop incredible rela­tionships with them and their families. These deep connections were one of the most valuable outcomes that came from the fieldwork in Mexico.

Goulding especially loved the indi­vidualized attention she was able to give to her students. "I went and observed in their classrooms during the day, and then after school I would go home with them and would participate with and observe them in the home. I was able to get to know each of them on a very different level than any teacher would normally be able to," Goulding explained.

During their time in Mexico, the girls all learned important lessons, not just about conducting fieldwork but about teaching. "I gained a lot of valuable information, and there were experiences that I can apply in my own classroom on how to be more inclusive of students from other cultures and how to make sure those students feel heard in my classroom," said Holdaway.

This experience was very different from experience gained from on-campus courses. "In the classroom I could have talked about how to collect data or watched other people do it on a video, but it would not have been the same thing as the learning curve of doing it myself," shared Savage.